Business Hilights
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FG’s mute on ordering new aircrafts at Airshow raises fear of ‘Tokunbo’ for Nigeria Air

…As endless wait for ordered 16 locomotives, 40 coaches, 120 wagons continues

Contrary to the position of the Minister of State for Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika that the federal government will place orders for the first five new air crafts for the takeoff of Nigeria Air at the just concluded London Airshow, the event has come and gone without any comment on the orders.

Accordingly, industry experts who had been reviewing the strange silence of the government on the matter are now compelled to assume that government wouldn’t mind flagging of the new national carrier with either leased or fairly used (Tokunbo) aircrafts.

Nigeria Air wait
Nigerians waiting to board Nigeria Air?

Even as the air crafts are yet to arrive, the federal government is currently making plans to send an executive bill to the National Assembly that will compel government employees to fly Nigeria Air without any option of choice unless the flyer is willing to buy ticket from his personal pocket.

Already, several industry experts and the leadership of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have kicked against the bill, saying it is another form of discouraging private sector investment and further stifling of domestic airline operators by a government that is clamouring for private sector investors.

This further fuels fear on the seriousness of the Ministry of Transportation in truly placing orders for the deployment of about 16 locomotives, 40 coaches and 120 wagons in the standard gauge Lagos-Ibadan rail line that is currently under construction.

Business Hilights recalls that the Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Engineer Okhiria Fidet had at a workshop at Federal Palace Hotels in Lagos three months ago assured that the ordered locomotives, coaches and 120 wagons will arrive before the end of June, 2018.

Now, June has come and gone and only weekend, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi gave similar assurance given in May by NRC boss that “We’ve placed orders and they are fabricating them, and we hope they will arrive soon.”

As it now, Nigerians are waiting for the takeoff of both Nigeria Air with the said five brand new air crafts, and Lagos-Ibadan railway with about 16 locomotives, 40 coaches and 120 wagons by end of the year.